Anthony Hilton: NYSE chief’s clouded view of transparency


Americans don't do irony, which is a pity because on Thursday Duncan Niederaurer, the personable head of NYSE Euronext, the parent organisation of the New York Stock Exchange, delivered a blast against the automatic trading platforms that are pinching so much of the business of the established stock exchanges.

His complaint was that investors were being disadvantaged because of the lack of transparency and because the regulatory and reporting responsibilities in these new organisations were much less than on his market.

That very day, the Glazers, who own Manchester United, fleshed out their plans to seek a New York listing for the club. They want the business to be registered in the Cayman Islands, for their shares to carry 10 times the votes of everyone else's, for it to be classed as a controlled company so they don't need outside directors and as "an emerging growth company" to avoid disclosure requirements.

None of this would be acceptable in London. On Mr Niederaurer's market? No problem.